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Averyt: Hope and Cracker Jack

10/25/11 5:55PM By Anne Averyt
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Host) Between the waning light and the collapse of her favorite baseball team, commentator Anne Averyt hasn’t found much to celebrate this October. But she keeps hoping....

(Averyt) I feel SAD right now. SAD, that acronym for Seasonal Affective Disorder, which drains my energy and enthusiasm at this time of year. It turns my mood dark as the sun shifts location, dawn rises later, and night creeps up sooner.

All around me I hear people saying this is their favorite time of the year – Fall, the signature season in Vermont, when reds rust, oranges burn and yellow turns gold. When smoke begins to curl from chimney stacks and wood piles up in the driveway. Time to close up camp, change over our tires to winter, and begin to think of what we are thankful for.

If spring is the season of rebirth, then autumn is about change. If spring is about nature’s awakening, fall is about its dozing off. But for me fall is mostly about the fading of light, about trying to fight the depression that settles in as the sun loses its glow.

Fortunately, I have my 10,000 lux light, which shines when the sun does not. At this time of year, I plug in my happy lamp as soon as I get up. It’s as much a part of my routine as strong coffee and Morning Edition.

But this fall I’m feeling particularly gloomy; and it’s about more than just the lack of light. It’s about disappointment, the withering in October of all the hope that blossomed last April. I’m talking about my hometown heroes, the Philadelphia Phillies, not lasting down the stretch to play hero in the World Series. It’s a disappointment shared just as keenly in Red Sox nation and by the Yankee faithful.

Hope is a powerful force that can work miracles for moods. I asked myself recently, after four days of rainy gloom and doom, would the light and my spirits be shining a little brighter if the Phillies were shining in the Series? If my team was being beamed on night time TV, would my mornings not be so dependent on the beams from my lux light?

Unfortunately, this year there’s no way to run a scientific test. I’ll have to rely on the hope of a long winter to help me forget my disappointment. There’s this funny thing about baseball – and life: no matter how dim the sun and my spirits in October, by the time April comes, the daffodils bloom, and the lights go on at the ball park, I’ll have forgotten my despair, and I’ll be dreaming about possibility. I’ll pack up my lux light and open my curtains to morning sunbeams. I’ll sing about going out to the ball game, about eating peanuts and Cracker Jack – or, better yet, I’ll sing that old song by the Fifth Dimension – “Let the sunshine in, the sun shine in....”
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